Crack smuggled into jail

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By Martin Salazar

A 25-year-old Las Vegas man already jailed on an outstanding warrant is in even more hot water for allegedly smuggling illegal drugs into the San Miguel County Detention Center.

Mario Romero, of the 800 block of Railroad Avenue, was charged late last month with three felonies, and his bond on the new charges was set at $15,000 cash.

Romero was initially arrested and booked into the county jail on the night of March 29 on an outstanding warrant out of Municipal Court. The following day, staff at the jail conducted a surprise shakedown inside one of its units, and Romero was strip searched, according to a police affidavit filed by Las Vegas police.

During that strip search, the detention officer discovered that Romero had been concealing a metal container in a body cavity, according to a court document filed in the case. Authorities say that the metal container Romero had been concealing contained 15 chunks of suspected crack cocaine.

Staff at the detention center contacted Las Vegas police to report what had been found.

The police affidavit, filed March 31 in San Miguel County Magistrate Court, states that the suspected crack cocaine was individually wrapped in aluminum foil.

A small amount of the substance was tested, and the result was positive for cocaine, authorities said.

Magistrate Chris Najar signed off on an arrest warrant charging Romero with the new crimes.

He has been charged with trafficking crack cocaine, a second-degree felony; tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and bringing contraband into a place of confinement, a fourth-degree felony.

Romero appeared before Judge Najar last week, and standard not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf. Online court records state that a preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for this afternoon before Magistrate Edward M. Gallegos.